Creating harmony in a heterogonous workforce
An HR expert said tests like DISC can help identify which employees can work best together.
It may be true that a diverse workforce has proven to bring opportunities to organisations based on several studies. However, it can also present challenges in workplaces, like conflicts and misunderstandings amongst employees, which Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) said can then lead to work disruptions, decreased productivity, and project failures.
For AYP Group, a provider of tech-enabled HR solutions, resolving or avoiding such conflicts is done by getting to know its employees' “personality profiles” through a DISC (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Conscientiousness) assessment provided by the John Maxwell Team.
How it is done
For three years now, all of AYP’s employees, from the management team down to the rest of the employees, take the DISC test conducted by a group of certified coaches, Jolin Nguyen, managing director of AYP Group, told Singapore Business Review.
“Essentially it's a link given and the users will answer about 20 questions about themselves on how they behave in certain situations,” Nguyen said.
According to the Empowerment Thinking Institute, the DISC identifies whether an individual’s personality style is “Dominant/Driver,” usually forceful, direct, and strong-willed; “Influencing/Inspiring,” optimistic, friendly, and talkative; “Steady/Stable,” patient, loyal, and practical; or “Correct/Compliant,” precise, sensitive, and analytical.
Once test results are available, they will be sent to employees. Those who already received their test results will be assigned a coach, who will then help them “know how to further enhance their strengths and to better maximise their potential,” Nguyen said.
“The coach will also mentor each employee on how to work and collaborate with colleagues with different traits, and help them see how colleagues who possess different traits can contribute to individual growth,” she added.
After the overall assessment, AYP will then use the results to put employees in the right role and on the right project, which, Nguyen said, is possible because the test allows them to understand the strengths and weaknesses of their people.
“In any project, we would want to make sure that there are individuals with each of the personality traits so that there are voices heard from everyone [so] we can be very sure that there’s a balance in voices in all the discussions and communications,” she shared.
“For example, if your company is about to embark on a restructuring plan, you would need someone who is comfortable with changes and is able to charge forward. This person would also need to have influencing traits as well, so such things can be found out through personality tests,” she added.
Overall, what AYP aims to teach is that with better understanding amongst employees, a heterogeneous company can be in harmony.
"Implementing all these [Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I) initiatives], there was really a difference...whenever there's a discussion, you actually see the level of participation go up a lot. At the same time, people were really a lot more innovative," Nguyen said.
Disharmonious or toxic workplaces, on the other hand, have been proven to impact a company's attrition rate.
In a research, the MIT Sloan Management Review found that toxic corporate culture is 10.4 times more likely to drive employees to quit.
According to the MIT publication, the leading elements contributing to toxic cultures include "failure to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion; workers feeling disrespected; and unethical behaviour."
Another way of getting to know workers is by getting their feedback, which is why AYP Group conducts a quarterly employee survey.
Amongst surveys AYP group rolls out is on the DISC training, and according to Nguyen, 100% of their employees “shared that they have gained a lot” from the personality assessment.
Through these surveys, employees can also contribute to the DE&I initiative and "actually be part of the strategy," Nguyen said.
Data collected from the survey, as well as the DISC assessment, are not only used by the company to improve their DE&I policies but also in developing HR tech solutions, the AYP Group official said.
Other core areas of DE&I
Involving stakeholders is only one facet that companies need to focus on when making DE&I initiatives work, Nguyen said.
The HR expert said companies should likewise be committed to implementing DE&I and has to know "why they are implementing it" and "what are the objectives” behind its implementation.
Lastly, Nguyen underscored that DE&I strategies must also focus on putting employees in the right role which the AYP group identifies through personality assessments, coaching, and training.
When asked how DISC helps in retention, Nguyen said it avoids “leadership and management mismatch” which pushed employees to leave their respective teams.
This is supported by a US-based survey by employment services provider, GoodHire, which found that 82% of workers would quit their job because of a bad manager.
As employees can maximise their potential and are able to shine when given the right role, their contentment towards work likewise increases, Nguyen said, adding that their employee happiness index rose after implementing the DISC assessment as a DE&I initiative.
“DISC is a tool that helps us better in terms of our overall talent management strategy. Based on that, we will know how to maximise the person's potential, put the right people in the right role or the right project that would excite them. So with that, it helps them to perform better and get promotion, and also at the same time, and grow well in the company,” Nguyen said.